Monday, January 30, 2012

British slang

Within days of moving to the UK I quickly adjusted many of our everyday terminology to the British ones. Words like; bin, nappy, and rubbish, were among the few that were instantly put into practise. I can't even remember the last time I used the word diaper...

But, of course, words and phrases continue to surprise us. At church yesterday, during our Sunday school lesson, our teacher used "gobsmacked" in a sentence. Using context clues I think I figured out the meaning of it, but our American friends and Tim and I were sitting in the back corner still left a little unsure.
At first I thought she said, "DOGsmacked" but when we googled "dogsmacked" on our iphones up popped YouTube vidoes of dogs being smacked by cats. Not it. So we typed in "gobsmacked" next. Bingo.

gobsmacked- utterly astonished or astounded

Pretty funny word, huh?
(Read with British accent): "I was literally gobsmacked to bits!"
hahaha. Brilliant.

Also, many times women have asked me if I was "broody". I had no idea what they were talking about, but again, I used context clues and kinda figured it out, but I still hesitated when anwering with a shy, "Yeah..." not exactly sure if I should be saying that or not!

broody- having a strong desire to have a baby

OH! Ok in that case, "Yes! Yes, I actually am!"

Here are a few more British slang we have learned along the way...

love- a friendly form of address (informal)

Brits use this ALL THE TIME. Even when a bus driver and I got in an argument he still addressed me as love. Ha.

knackered- exhausted

Tim said people at work use this a lot and he had no idea what they were talking about.
On the flip side, I would love to ask a Brit to say "Boo-yah" and "Ba-donka-donk" and ask them what they think it means.

I know there are many more examples of British slang, but these are the only ones that come to mind right now. I'll post some later I'm sure. In the meantime, "Mind the gap!"

Friday, January 27, 2012


I loved being busy and having to be somewhere everyday for Marisa's last term and a half for school. It really helped me dive into my community a bit better and really live a London life. It was fun while it lasted, but now I am really enjoying the change of pace homeschooling brings. Nowhere to be, set our own pace, and not have to fight the cold winter. (Which has been really, really mild for London, but I still don't like it.) And with Christmas and our Venice trip and New Year's and Tim's birthday and all the chaos in a row, I have really vegged out the past few weeks! I have been SO lazy. Literally, for the first week I never left the house except for church on Sunday. Wow. Lazy.
The start of busy season didn't exactly help my couch potatoness either. No matter how hard you brace yourself and no matter how many years of busy season under your belt, it is a huge adjustment getting back into it. It took the first week to really adjust, much faster than ever, but just because I have adjusted doesn't mean it is easy.
Even the girls have felt the shift of things in our home. After the first 4 days of not seeing Daddy Natalie asks clearly with much confusion in her face, "Where's Dad?" as I'm tucking her into bed. Not fun.

But life must go on and despite being completely lazy we have done something.  We are really loving homeschooling so far and all 3 of us have been learning a lot. Marisa's reading lessons have been miraculous to watch. I can't believe at 4 years old she is reading! Just a couple days ago she grabbed a book of hers and read the first 2 pages on her own. Marisa looked up at me with amazement and quietly, yet shockingly said, "I'm reading!" I will post more on her progress a different day.
Natalie loves joining our lessons too. Her new favourite word is "buoyancy". She always wants to take new objects in the house and practise "buoyancy"! And when we studied Paris I showed her a picture of the Eiffel Tower and asked her what it was and she replied, "Eiffel Tower I went!" Love it.

So cheers to not being lazy anymore! I woke up this morning determined to start a different attitude. I simply started my day blaring my newly downloaded songs on my phone while stretching and working on my flexibility again. I'm getting stiff and old! Yikes!

THIS is my new favourite song right now. I basically put it on repeat while I cook. Yes, I almost always dance while I cook.
You should try it...

And I also sometimes walk into the girls' bedroom and dance on their beds all while Natalie especially looks at me with such curiosity and wonder. = )

Funny side note: While Tim and I were dating, Shakira's song "My Hips Don't Lie" was his ringtone for me. Now he said it would be THIS song. All I have to say is, "You married it! It's not like you didn't know!"
And P.S. I used to be kinda known for my body rolls and hip movement in my teen years, I know scandalous, but every time I watch Shakira I want to bow down to her. Good gosh woman!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And the award...

for the "World's #1 Worst Baker" goes to...

Yours truly.

It was meant to be Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the small successes

I think as Mothers we tend to be too hard on ourselves sometimes. I would say almost daily I plop myself on my bed after putting the girls down for the night and I lay there thinking of all the things I didn't get done, or moments where I should have been more patient, more understanding, or more fun.
Raising small children is no easy task. Duh. But how often do we sit back and say, "I did really good at this today" or "I did really good at that today"? I think not enough.

Today I actually had a proud Mommy moment. A moment where I felt, "Ok. I'm actually heading in the right direction. I don't totally suck!"

Before I had children I knew I wanted my kids to be good healthy eaters. None of this short order chef stuff, none of this dummying down adult food for kids. My kids eat what we eat. End of story.

For dinner tonight we had a meal we have pretty frequently; baked salmon with goat cheese and lemon, quinoa, and stemmed carrots. I was so happy to see my girls eat away with no complaints and such pleasure. And then I thought about all the things my girls eat that most kids don't;

Breakfast: Spinach smoothies, oatmeal.
Snack: Snap peas, red peppers, wholemeal crackers with goat cheese, yogurt and granola, tomatoes, (yes, Marisa can eat it like an apple).
Dinner: Quinoa, couscous, lentils, salmon, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, soups, and pizza with toppings like: black beans, red peppers, kale... not all those 3 at once of course, but name a veggie I have probably have put it on pizza, and the list goes on and on.

Some of my favourite go-to meals lately:
-Curry Rogan Josh: (Recipe from Jamie Oliver. Loaded with cauliflower and butternut squash. Mmmm.)
-Homemade Black Bean Burgers
-Sweet Potato Fries: (I adjust the ingredients so it is not so much oil and salt.)
-Salmon and Strawberry Salsa
-Flourless Brownies: secret ingredient, black beans!
-White Bean and Kale Soup: (Minus the sausage.)
-Pizza: (The sky is the limit when it comes to vegetables!)

And trust me, my kids were not born miraculously loving veggies, especially Natalie. It took being consistant and persistant on my part as a parent.
For example, Natalie has always hated veggies, especially carrots, even as a baby. But I have always put veggies on their plate and on the table during mealtime. No matter what. Even if I knew she wouldn't eat it and just throw it off her plate, the veggies were placed on her plate regardless. It wasn't until recently she got curious again, tried it again, and now hasn't stopped eating her veggies. No forcing, no pressure, just plain "this is what we eat and this is how it is".

So today I'd like to give myself a pat on the back. I think I'm doing alright.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

High tea

I had a lovely afternoon with my lovely friend over lovely high tea at The Ritz. Can that sentence get any lovelier?

One more thing off my bucket list.

And to my CA friends - be ready to come over to my house for tea loads of times upon my return! Love this daily British tradition.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

{Flashback}: Day 4

Our last day was by far the coldest day. Gray, overcast, cloudy, and even rainy as we approached the airport. Although it was cold outside today, we had been really lucky to have the sun shining all the other days during our trip. The sun really makes a difference no matter how cold it is.
We saved Piazza San Marco, the Basilica, and Doge's Palace for our last day even though we had walked through it and passed it many times before. It was right next to us so impossible to avoid.

Pigeons provide endless entertainment for my girls. Loads of pigeons in plazas; so European, huh? And pigeons in Europe are not scared of people. They are so accustomed to being fed by humans that they will go for it to snatch it from you. Same with the squirrels here too actually.
Natalie tries tirelessly everytime to catch one in her hands, but after no success from a 2 year old she has once not only stepped on one forcefully but pinned it to the ground hard and long! Poor bird. We teach animal cruelty in this house.

Our little stinker also likes to run. Run, run, run, non-stop. Can you imagine what she does to her mommy in busy European cities? Gives me mini heartattacks along the way. Runs all through London, licking light posts along the way, all through Barcelona, all through Edinburgh, weaving in and out of crowds of people, all through Paris, run, run, run, with her brown curls bouncing everywhere. And now Venice. And she knows she is being cheeky by running away from us as fast as she can. See?!

Last minute we decided to go to the top of the Campanile tower before heading back home. It was no Eiffel Tower, but it was still neat to see a bird's eye point of view of the city.

On the plane ride home Marisa turned to me and said, "Mom, I miss Italy." Me too. Me too...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

London Prepares 2012

At 11:00 a.m. yesterday morning I was purchasing tickets for me and the girls to watch the gymnastic qualifiers for this year's Olympics for yesterday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Talk about spontaneity!

Shauna's husband works for the Olympics and has told us ahead of time when to purchase the tickets, but I totally spaced it, which is not like me to be spacey, and they all sold out. Luckily, Shauna didn't give up on me and her text in the morning allowed me to check for availability and bingo, there were tickets being sold!

I got a little teary-eyed, (I'm such a cry baby), being at such a special event with my girls. It was quite the experience to watch such an official thing for the Olympics. And it is gymnastics! One of the biggest events!

We saw gymnasts from Hungry, Switzerland, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy, Slovenia, etc. etc. perform. Shauna and her kids got to see Canada in the morning session and even got autographs. Italy was by far the best in the afternoon session. I cannot imagine watching U.S.A, Russia, Romania, and China gymnasts perform! Wow.

We didn't stay long to hear them announce which 4 countries will be making it to this years summer Olympics in London but it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences I think I will never forget.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{Flashback}: Day 3

The nice part about having kids is that because they wake up early we get to start our day earlier than the other tourists. It's great. We hit Rialto Bridge and the Rialto Market, one of the most touristy places in Venice, first thing this morning. It was neat to see the Venetians already hustling and bustling getting ready for the flow of people.

You know me. I love me some food and I LOVE me some European markets even more! Tim has once said to me, "You and your pictures of food...." Oh! The happiness it brings to me...

The Rialto Market is where all the locals buy their food and where restaurant owners buy their food for the day.
You better believe I bought some food too! This is one place in Venice where the sellers don't really speak English and yes, loved it!

I bought uva, pere e mele and stuffed it in our backpack for our day.
{P.S. Markets are a great way to cut down on costs of food when traveling. Eating out for every meal can get really costly plus not to mention kinda gross. And a major plus, how can you say no to fresh food and an authentic experience abroad??}
Marisa was so squimish and scared of the seafood section. She kept saying she was scared of the octopuses and crabs. She doesn't like seeing some of them still moving either.
In general, Venetians are so warm and friendly, which I will talk about later, and these seafood sellers were no exception. When they saw that I was taking pictures they immediately hugged each other, looked at my camera, and said, "We are the most handsome men in Rialto!"

After the market we decide to wander over to Santa Maria della Salute. Along the way we some pretty interesting things.

I happened to look over and down at the girls when I saw this...

I quickly fell to the floor flat on my stomach to get this shot. I wonder what they were talking about...

Salute is located directly across our hotel. It is a stunning sight at night from the hotel's quaint dock. We walked around inside a bit and casually hung out outside for awhile. Fun place for the girls to climb, wander, and run to their little hearts content.

{Side note: Since Barcelona, and out of necessity, I have grown a hard outer shell here and I can now dish it back like a European; with a little room for improvement, of course. In Shannon's words, "You have found your mojo!" Yep, I think I have. There were, of course, gypsy beggars here and there in Venice and of course, right at the entrance of the Salute. Looking straight ahead and ignoring the gypsy I walked through the door only to have her reach out her arm to casually bump into my legs so I can stop to give her money. She was fake crying, moaning "Senora...Senora...", and being so annoy. I suddenly had this really, really strong urge then to turn around and ... kick her cup.
I know, I'm a horrible person what can I say.}

I like the water bus stops in Venice. Way different than our red buses in London! It was fun to stand and wait for our boat to take us right across the canal to our hotel.

For dinner tonight we ate at a really yummy restaurant called Le Cafe. It was the best place we had eaten at so far. Nothing in Venice, food wise, blew our socks off, but it was still definitely really good. Italians can't mess up pizza and pasta!
On another side note, I kind of wish I was Italian. The language is gorgeous and imagine all the better eating I would be doing... oh, pinch me.


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